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04/29/15 7:17am
04/29/2015 7:17 AM |

Mikey-and-Nicky-1976

Mikey and Nicky (1976)
Directed by Elaine May
The camera presses in on the respectively Dionysian and repressed antics of John Cassavetes’s and Peter Falk’s small-time Philadelphia hoods like a sneering child placing a greasy nose on zoo glass to gawk at the tamed and emasculate dangerous creatures just on the other side. Scenes of petty belligerence, sexual rejection, and juvenile vulgarity paint an unsparing view of the inanity of male bonding. That’s nothing compared to May’s estimation of fundamentally masculine traits of self-reliance, which are rendered not as noble responsibility but blatant self-regard above all other considerations. New Hollywood was founded on macho seriousness and self-conscious artistry, and in pillorying the protagonists’ façade of strength, May excoriates her peers as much as her characters. Jake Cole (May 3-9 at MoMA; showtimes daily)